Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Henry News & The Nuts & Bolts of TNR

Once again, Henry's rallying!!!! He is one highly spirited cat! 12 years old, ears frost bit off, hardly any teeth, with chronic dirreah full of old battle scars when he came to us (see Henry Blog) Trapped him at the tail end of a colony, full of dried fecal matter.
Henry spent the next 3 weeks getting healthy and he was doing great when, 2 days away from his neuter appointment, some one didn't get the door latched right and about 5 minutes later, he was out the door. (I made a lovely speckle of myself running out the door net in one hand, carrier in the other). He was out a week but thankfully stayed around the house. The downside is that he has nuts and that caused major problems with the neighborhood cats. Poor baby, they chased him up trees, fought with him, chased him from his hiding places. He chased one from hers. It was a horrible week for us all. Finally caught him one week from the day he left. During our board meeting we set up traps all around the hiding places and hangouts. Many of the cats mostly spayed & neutered will go in for the good food knowing that I'll just let them out so I'd have to let them stay in the traps until I got Henry. Fortunately at the end of the meeting Steph looked around while she was leaving and we netted him (after 3-4 unsuccessful attempts at netting during the week). He looked so bad we didn't think he would make it through the night. Again, it was mostly exhaustion. He didn't eat the first night, a teaspoon the next morning and consumption has grown to 1/3 c kitten kibble, 1/3 can watered canned and about 1/4 cup water. Tonight for the first time, he's laying on his belly and not over on his sided, looking dead. Earlier, he was standing and eating vs barely picking up his head. HE'S RALLYING! In addition to well need safe comfortable rest, he's getting kitten food, Tiki Cat, Friski's canned, antibiotics, pro biotics (Florify) and EFA's (Omega 6 & 3) for animals.
The nuts and bolts of TNR
Today, Linda and I met with a fellow she met about the cats in his garage. His neighbors are complaining and he needs to have them adopted out.
The fellow is a Vietnam Vet who's never been the same since the killings. He jumped out of a lot of helicopters, was shot 3 times. He lives on a busy street, a side street in Elmwood Park where you can go 3-4 long blocks with no stop signs - people drive at very high speeds. Because he's scraped so many off the streets, now when he finds cats, he puts them in his garage so they are safe. His garage is clean of dirt and debris and the cats are very well cared for. He loves them and can pet them all. But a garage with no ventilation, even if there are fans, is no place for cats. It was sad. One cat with possible allergies but I suspect anxiety with bald lick spots up and down his body some spanning inches. Respiratory problems with another. Fight wounds. All, highly anxious. They're getting s/n at ACL next Tues. Then ???? They need out of the garage. Possibly outside cage managery. Trying to relocate through
Then, I picked up some donated lumber for the cathouse and racks we're building.
Cat calls:
-called a feeder we met at Maywood Farmers Market to schedule colony of 11 for clinic in 2 weeks and 1 for next Monday. Woman feeds on her porch, they're all friendly to her. The very pregnant one is going to clinic Tues.
- a call from north Maywood - the guy who had a mama and 3 kittens hasn't seen them since he started pre-pre-baiting (getting them use to coming for food). He has another neighborhood cat who may have babies in his Hostas. He's getting a pre bait trap Saturday.
- arranged with feeder to partner on drop trap catch for a very trap leery prolific mama who's been having litters ever few months - 35 decendants in the last 2 years. That's Friday night.
-spoke to Linda about Lou's arrangements and possible solution
-spoke to Cynthia about the Loyola kitten. He's 6-7 wks old (went for FF test yesterday at ACL) that was found in some pipes at the hospital. Vet there checked him out but couldn't keep him here. He's been here until she could find a foster home, which she has. He's leaving this weekend. Tried him with the 25 day old kittens but didn't work. Too bad. He will be adopted through ACL mid August with Hoover's babies.
-emailed to schedule local Maywood colony next week
-spoke with a feeder where we picked up 5, 11 day old kittens with their 7 month old mom last week. The 7 month old's mom is back with her 4 month old kittens. We thought she was going to trap them Monday night - now they've got pre-baited traps set. She'd like the cats to be adopted out rather than live in the street. Hardest thing to understand is the lack of resource to socialize a 4 month old kitten. It takes about 6-12 months for some, if ever. We don't try to place 4 month olds. With a good feeder and shelter, their home is the street. It's a difficult situation. We're hoping to at least get them s/n so she won't have 30 to deal with next year.
-Talked to Sheila at the Childrens library about starting an animal education program in August. CatVando in partnership with UofI Extension Service.
-Emailed Dr Oye at Extension of September plans and upcoming tv interview together
No less time consuming are the hours spent thinking and planning. Lots of great things are happening!
Haven't sent the invitations yet but MARK YOUR CALENDAR for our First CAT PARTY!!!! Sunday, July 13, 1pm - more to come. If you don't get an invitation and want to come, leave a comment. Everyone welcome that has cats, indoor or out, or if for some reason you don't have cats but like them!
And that's pretty much how it goes every day. Tried cleaning my house every day this week and spent minimual time at that task! -

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Maywood Farmers Market

Cat Vando had a booth at the recent farmers market held every 1st & 3rd Saturday in St. Eulalia's Parking Lot at 9th and the Eisenhower. It was fantastic! Good fruits vegies, wonderful plants friendly vendors, music, people from the Extension Service answering gardening questions and medical students from Loyola addressing health and wellness issues and lots of fun and fabulous people. Pictured is Maywood's own, the uncomparable, Johnny Diggs, documenting every Maywood event we've attended photographing the entertaining, invigorating talent of the Proviso East High School Band - again, excellent!
We were planning on doing the 3rd Farmers Market of the month but after our experience at this one, we plan on attending each Farmers Market of the season. We met many wonderful people, cat people and civic minded people. We'll go into more detail at a later date but we have a grant writer! And, someone to help us with Publisher and Cannon Zoom Browser. We connected with many feeders and were told of many colonies. While we work in other areas, our main interest is to help Maywood make TNR a community effort. We believe that cats are an opportunity to learn respect for life and to help counteract the violence rampant in our society, we want to start that in our own community and to help spread this to other communities.
We're actually working with the U of I Extension Service to bring in a program for animal education. The 4H people to develop a specialized 4H group to build cat houses for feeders yards. The Village is interested in TNR and working on a program to help the cats of Maywood. All is good!
We've been incredibly busy getting this in place while continuing our TNR efforts. We are working on several colonies, with reservations for our limited supply of traps. We're doing a tremendous amount of education. Many of our calls are for 'relocation', which we don't do... most TNR groups don't. There just isn't any place for the cats other than where they are. The most effective method of reduction and control is TNR. Then there are the details of TNR. While the process is similar, each project brings it's own story. And, there's some doozies! Wish I had the time to list the details some of the stories are quite funny. From skunks to missing then found kittens - it's been well worth the story - just don't have the time!
To clarify TNR, Trap Neuter Return is our focus. Not only do we not have the resources for Trap Neuter Rescue, our mission is to prevent the birth of cats that there's no place for. Hundreds of thousands of cats that are wonderful adoptable animals are being euthanized because there's no place for them to go, no one to adopt them and take them into their homes. Rescue takes lots of time, energy and space. and ultimately, keeps us from our mission of preventing the birth of cats that don't have feeders or are creating an overpopulation problem in a neighborhood, jeopardizing the existing cats because neighbors are concerned about the 'numbers' of cats.
Having said that, sometimes it's impossible to Return, such as the case of Sweet Cheeks the stray (who's amazingly identical to the Stone Park Colony but was abandoned in Maywood) who doesn't like cats and ended up disrupting a whole colony of well fed cats and their feeder. She's darling, affectionate and still here! Or, Hoover and her young kittens, or today's addition of the 6-7 week old kitten found stuck in the pipes. Such is the life of a CatVando'r!

Hoover & Kittens

Hoover arrived with her kittens on June 12 & 13th. They were born June 1st. Hoover (cause she's always eaten like one) is about 7 months old. She's a fantastic mom. Gotta love watching those kittens hold their head up for the first time when it bobs like a little bobble head or when they take their first steps and their butt does the bobble bob. Initially they were in a carrier in a big crate. When they started venturing out of the carrier, I replaced it with a big comforter in the crate.
This was one of the more challenging kitten and mama rescues we've done. This lucky cat is blessed with two wonderful feeders and two sleeping places. Because she was fed by humans as a kitten and because she was exposed to her feeders a lot, she's semi-feral. Her feeders can pet her and she walks between her feeder, Maryann, for food. With 2 feeders, when the feeder withheld food for an hour so I could trap, Hoover decided to go to her other feeder and take 2 kittens with her. Can't even begin to explain the details of this- lets just say, it was interesting and I should write a book! It took 23 hours to get the 4th kitten to her and 30 for the 5th, thanks to the hard work and determination of one of her feeders, Joe.
They're all waiting to go to their foster home then to be adopted out through Animal Care League mid August. Hoover, tho she's feeder friendly, will probably go back to her home with her two feeders. She may be able to be domesticated but it would take more than the resources CatVando has. With a cat as lucky as Hoover, she has a home, it's in the streets. There are so many adoptable cats that don't have homes as good as she. So, unless someone falls madly in love with her in the mean time, she'll be going back to the only home she's known. Spayed, to live out her life without kittens.
Our focus is Trap Neuter Return. Sometimes, as with these kittens, we're diverted. With TNR sometimes, cats just don't 'fit' on the street. And, when kittens can be taken this young, they stand a better chance of being adopted because they can be socialized to human touch and love.

Yowza it's The Season

A Stone Park Colony - 6 cats black or black and white except for Scotty. Poor boy, never saw a cat so flea infested. Wasn't doing much itching but there was a 1/16" layer of flea larve & poop under his cage after 24 hours. It was horrible and took an entire morning to deal with. Couldn't bathe him but did give him Revolution for fleas and parasites. Washing would have been great to get rid of the flea crap but wouldn't have done much for the fleas...... He has a great feeder.
Here's where his devoted caregiver delivers food every day. She drives from her home and feeds this and one other colony. This is behind an empty house. The man who use to feed the cats lost his home and had to move. She heard about it and started feeding and contacted us for TNR
We trapped 7 the first day and 1 the second. We did however, trap a skunk (our first and we didn't get sprayed releasing him!) and a possum. The night before we trapped our first raccoon... a banner 24 hours I'd rather not repeat!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thank You!

We had a great sale and a good time! In addition to selling lots of stuff, we got lots of donations and were able to do education and we even got a foster home volunteer for socializing kitties!
Thanks to Laura Nowicki and Family for letting us use their lot for our sale on Madison & Grove.
Thanks so much to those that donated wonderful items for sale: Priscilla Kienzell, Muriel , Stephanie Yaeger, Vicki Jones, Ilene Neal, Julie Rutilli of Hounds of Baskerville, Liz Santelli, Stephanie Skrine, Jeanne Friedell, Eric Tucker and Ellen Miles.
Thanks to Lois Matthison for donating her wonderful hand made 100% cotton dish towels and to Jean Williams for her delicious banana bunt cake to be sold at the sale.
Thanks to those who gave monetary donations: Kelly, Delores, Gina of Furry Godmother, Barb & Jillian Klouse and Stephanie Yaeger
Thanks to all those that came not just because it was a Flea Market but to support the efforts of CatVando.
Thanks to Stephanie Skrine for sponsoring the ad in the Oak Leaves
Thanks to Jeanne Friedell for making our wonderful flyer/poster for the "Purrr-fect Flea Market"
And last but not least, thanks to those who put in time, muscle and effort to set up, sell then pack up and donate the left overs:
Jeanne Friedell, Stephanie Skrine, Eric Tucker, Muriel, and Ellen Miles.
And, please forgive me if I've forgotten anyone's name.
Watch for our next sale in early September!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

OurPurr-fect Flea Market Fundraiser

ok - some of this is messed up but you get the important info! Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sweet Cheeks and Henry's Update

Sorry, no time to upload photo but Sweet Cheeks is now in very temporary foster care. She had to be removed from the colony because she was extremely disruptive and was causing a tremendous amount of stress for the feeder, as she continued to 'rule' the porch, not allowing the regulars to feed. She's very sweet and needs a home ASAP - her kittens didn't make it. She is precious and needs to be in a one animal household. Henry, on the other hand is doing well. In case you don't remember, he was the beat up, 12 year old who came in full of dried feces, dry brittle hair, old fight wounds, hardly any teeth, frostbit ears, dirreah. He spent the first two weeks eating and sleeping and pooping (all over the side of the litter box, don't 'cha know). After eating good food from Sirius Cooks ( - we love those girls and their healthy food and snacks), getting antibiotics and probiotics and EFA's, no more dirreah, his coat is starting to smooth and he's cleaning himself! He's also taking an interest in his surround. For the first couple of weeks, he wouldn't look at me. When I'd be near, he'd close his eyes. Now, little by little, he's looking... Once he's healthy, he'll be neutered and will possibly go back out on the street. He has a good Colony Manager so he'll have food, water and shelter. Time will tell - he's definitely on the road to recovery.